Morrisons apologises for displaying New Scientist magazine in men's interest news stand

A customer complained that the positioning gave a negative message to girls

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The Independent Online

A supermarket has apologised after copies of a science magazine were displayed in the men’s interest section of its news stand.

A biology graduate complained to Morrisons after the weekly New Scientist magazine was moved to the “Men’s & motor” area of the wrack at the Woohouse Land store in Leeds. 

Writing in a Facebook post seen by The Tab student newspaper, former Leeds student Sophie Anam said that the display gave a negative message to girls.

She told the newspaper: “Science is so incredibly fascinating and exciting – how anybody can argue that any of these things are ‘a mens general interest’ is beyond me!”

Ms Anam went on to say that it was “upsetting” to find “ridiculous outdated gender stereotypes” being played out “in the 21st century”.

The supermarket sparked further controversy when it responded to Ms Anam: “this magazine has been placed under this section is that it is a generally a men’s general interest magazine.”

When confronted with how its magazine was being displayed in Morrisons, New Scientist tweeted: “oh dear, when did @Morrisons say that? New Scientist is for everyone.”

Morrisons has since apologised and called the move a “genuine mistake.”

A spokespeeditorialrson told The Independent: “The signage in this magazine section in this store was incorrectly displayed.

“There were also music, history and political magazines in the same section and the signage ‘Men and Motors’ was a genuine mistake. We know that New Scientist is read by men and women and we apologise for any suggestion otherwise.”

The incident occurred in a climate of concern that women are underrepresented and put off from careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) because of societal pressures.

Women currently make up around 12.8 per cent of the Stem workforce, according to the campaign group Women in Science and Engineering (Wise).

The figure was compounded by a recent study which ound that women are less likely to become scientists and engineers because they are taught to believe that such professions require innate intellectual brilliance rather than hard work.

Amid concerns about the gender gap in the sector, Nobel laureate Tim Hunt stepped down from UCL after he outlined the apparent problem with "girls" at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, North Korea.

"Three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry," he told the audience.